ADHD + PTSD

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This sums up what living with and living with a child or two with ADHD looks like.

Peaceful? Not exactly. More like so exhausting you end up crashing on the floor. God knows I have left my heavily exhausted body imprinted on the floor many times. (Thank God for vacuums. They take away the evidence in seconds.)

Before our ninos came into our lives, and even awhile afterward, Hubby and I held onto the notion that ADHD was more of a lack of good parenting than organic, something “real”. Yes, they were hyper. Yes, they were impulsive, very impulsive. Yes, they were forgetful. Yes, they were…but we chalked it up to the neglect and trauma they had suffered through. It wasn’t until our 9-year-old (7 at the time) REALLY struggled in every area in school and our 13-year-old (11 at the time) had way too many signs that we had them tested. We had them tested for a number of things. Both came back with ADHD. Now our 13-year-old is NOT hyper at all. He is the quiet, mellow one in the bunch, but boy was he fidgety. He also had these “ticks” (before meds).

Fast forward to the present. After trying various different natural remedies, diet changes, and behavioral management techniques without seeing the change we needed we made the decision to put both boys on medicine for ADHD/PTSD. He started out being treated for symptoms of PTSD, without results. So we tried the ADHD route. This seemed to work great. Now he will tell you he can’t feel or tell if the medicine makes any difference. At all! More on this in a minute. Mr. Bubblewrap started out with ADHD meds with great results. He still forgets, is still impulsive, still pretty active, but it is now much more manageable. We ended up having to put him on PTSD meds as well. We call these his emo pills.

We are still doing behavior management and try natural remedies. These we would more than likely be doing with or without ADHD present in our lives. Our hope and goal is to eventually do away with the meds all together, especially for the PTSD. For now, this is where we are.

For now, we still remind, we still say focus a lot. We have also added a 20 min quiet time for Mr. Bubblewrap after school. This is not a punishment but a measure of prevention. He can have this alone time, quiet time to regroup, gather his thoughts, etc. before joining the family. It has really helped him make that transition from school to home life. He has even started setting the timer and putting himself in quiet time without being told. If you are familiar with kids with ADHD then you know this is huge. We also have him nap on weekends. He doesn’t have to sleep just have quiet time.

For this color coordinated closet organized mama, kids with such forgetful, disorganized behaviors have been hard. This level of unorganized lives doesn’t make sense to me. However, I too am learning, am adjusting, and doing what I can to help our kids. While ADHD type of behavior can be caused by the lack of good parenting, I am much less judgmental and have come to grips that for now the kids, heck, we need that extra help the medicine provides us.

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Fractured Perspective

At the end of February, our little one suffered a second bone fracture. A new one! Read about the original one here.

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Long story short the preschool staff let him climb on playground equipment too soon and he fell. We are also going to see a pediatric orthopedic doctor to have our son’s  bones checked, blood work.

Having a child with a physical disability even a temporary one helps you see things in a different perspective. It gives you a much deeper appreciation for what the parent/s and caretakers of children with long term physical problems go through.

Can we talk about just the sheer number of doctors appointments involved? And the paperwork! This alone can be a part-full time exhausting job. Thank God we don’t live far at all to most of the doctors we have needed to see, but even that takes time. Getting the wheelchair in and out of the vehicle, helping your child into the said wheelchair. Finding the wheelchair accessible ramp (which is never a short cut), handicapped parking is usually taken, navigating in and out doorways (thank you every place that has automatic opening doors). Keeping your child entertained during the inevitable waits. Keeping your child calm when he is freaked out, doesn’t want to be examined, x-rayed, etc. Comforting him and apologizing to the staff afterward. Then there are the pizza (or whatever food treat you bribed him with) runs you promised if he were brave.

The diagnosis: You always hope and pray for the best, but brace for the worst. Okay, bad, bad fracture…so bad they are calling it a break. I can do this for 5-6 weeks. You learn to look at the light at the end of the tunnel. Then you get told a few weeks in that your son isn’t healing right and may need surgery. NOT what any parent wants to hear. You get a miracle, no surgery! Praise God. The weeks are over, you pushed it through. The cast comes off and your son can’t even walk without assistance for more than a couple of weeks. Just when he gets to walking fairly well, he falls…a whole new fracture in the growth plate, nonetheless. More diagnosis, more tears, screams of painful fear, more comforting, more tests. More waiting. More pushing it through. More enduring, grinning and bearing it. And yet our situation is mild to what I am sure a terminal diagnosis is like.IMG_2191

The added workload: our son is four, too small for crutches. He is dependent on us to take him to the toilet, put him up to eat, dress and undress him. Sponge baths are hard for all involved. You would think we are torturing him every time. So draining. He is really good at getting around on his own. Whether that’s scooting on his bum or in the wheelchair. His independent nature helps him in this area. His active imagination also helps him not get too bored being pretty much home bound. This boy is an outdoor kid and it hurts that he can’t go out and play. In a sense, we have gone backward. He was just getting to the point where he could pretty much dress himself and other such independent skill.

The emotional wear: It is NEVER easy when your child is hurt, really hurt. I can totally handle normal scrapes and bumps. When it goes beyond the normal you want to go into mama bear mode, build your child a safe bubble for him to live in the rest of his life. But that is not practical or wise. With the leg cast, we have bumped into walls more than once. Even though our little son hasn’t complained too much about it at all, knowing how tough and brave he is still gets to you. When he cries out while getting casted “I want to go home” ugh, it still brings tears to my eyes and heart. Knowing how much he has spent in the doctors, hospitals already since he was born saddens me. The anger you feel towards those to let it happen. The frustration you feel when people are not their nicest when you are just trying to help your baby and are at your lowest for that day. When you feel helpless. Again, I can’t imagine if it were long term or terminal.

I have found an unexpected loneliness too. No one can truly know the struggle this puts on a family, an individual unless they have gone through something similar. Not everyone wants to hear your story or even notice there is a story. Also a-not-so silent judgment at the looks we get. We already stand out because of our ethnic differences pair that with a bright orange cast. I want to loudly tell some people “It NOT my fault. I DIDN’T hurt my baby!”

The decisions: We have had to make many medical decisions for our four-year-old in these past two years. Most have been the right ones, and one, well we really had no choice and it may have caused him to talk differently. Another we are totally opting out which not everyone agrees with. As a parent, you are ALWAYS making decisions for your kids, for their short-term and long-term future. Yet the medical ones seem harder, no matter how much research you do.

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(This pretty much sums up how we all feel about the whole situation.)

To wrap this extra long post up, I know I don’t fully know the depths of the hardship having a child with greater medical needs than a two-time fractured leg, but I have a much greater understanding than I had before. I have a greater appreciation for life when these things don’t happen. Also, I have a gratefulness to our God who has strengthened us through it all. At times when I should’ve broken, God gave me the strength to rise above and keep the victory.

Brave Little Solider

The Wednesday before New Year’s the General suffered a broken leg. Long story short, he got tripped.

img_2068All of the boys were playing in the playroom and I was getting dressed after my shower when I heard loud, painful crying. I quickly went to see what was wrong. Oldest son had the General on our counter trying to see what was wrong. He started taking off his shoes, nothing, except crying. The General wouldn’t tell us were the pain was. We took off his pants, nothing except crying. Even thought we couldn’t see anything amiss I knew something wasn’t right. I took him unto my bathroom away from the crowd (sometimes our family can be a crowd) to see if he’d calm down. After about 5 minutes we were all on our way to the ER.

After about 3 hours of MUCH pain, MANY tears, X-rays, a nurse who I still want to yell at and way too much paper work for a mommy holding her scared injured little one to fill out, we found out his shin was broken in two places. Clean breaks but still. The nurses in the ER put the splint on him and sent us on our way, discharge papers and script in hand.

Our little guy was in pain every time we moved him to use the restroom, to clean him, to feed him, to go anywhere…the splint really wasn’t helping much. Again, one angry momma here wanting to yell at some people. The General has been through a LOT in his little life, enough doctors to fill his lifetime quota. With pain, the unknown, or things he thinks he may not like he gets TERRIFIED and screams, cries and fights. He fought us each and every time we took him to the toilet, every time we moved him. Hubby slept in the General’s room for those first two nights, just to comfort him, move him, give him his pain meds. It took two of us to put him anywhere. It was really a big ordeal for those two days.

The following Friday he got his cast on!

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(It was SOOO good knowing that we weren’t hurting him now every time. We surely needed the cuddle time together after the first three days.)

The actual getting casted was another huge tiring ordeal. Most of us were near tears. BUT once that bright orange cast was on the pain started to decrease. The fear wore off with each passing day. He even let Biggest Brother doodle on it.

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Thankfully we had kept our stroller. I seriously was going to get rid of it the week before. The general did so good adjusting to his new limitations and didn’t let it stop him too much.

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He scoots around for the most part. He rode around on a dolly you use while working under your car. He can get in and out of bed, open doors, look out the windows, get himself all of the way up to the arm of the overstuffed chair in the playroom, and even sneak into the garage to hang out with Dad. All while not putting weight on his leg!

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We were able to rent him a kid sized wheelchair. (It had to be ordered from out of state!) The wheel chair is so much easier than the stroller. He mastered maneuvering around the house and even Walmart (he wanted to) super fast. He loves the freedom it gives him. It also enables him to ride the school bus again. The General, as friendly and as talkative as he is, made a new friend since being in the wheelchair with another student on his bus who is also in a wheelchair.

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Using the toilet and sponge bathing are the biggest challenges for us. But if you find yourself in this situation I have a few tips:

*Get a lint roller, especially if you have dogs. The amount of dirt and hair your little one will pick up on his bum from scooting around is frankly, embarrassing, no matter how much you sweep.

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*Keep hand sanitizer near by in the restroom and in your purse. As hand washing proves to be tricky especially when not at home.

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*Rent a wheel chair if at all possible. Life saver! Worth it in every way.

*Improvise. There are so many things they can’t do in this condition.

*The bruises on your hips from carrying your casted little one will go away. So will the sore toes, from the wheel chair. And your sore back from lifting and caring him everywhere.

*Get old pants or buy cheap ones. Even if jeans fit over the cast, they are a bear to get down quick enough when your little one needs to pee. Cut the casted leg off of the pants if needed. Know that they are going to get worn out quicker than normal from all of the rubbing against the cast. Same with socks.

*Lotion…his little toes are so dry it’s not even funny. Even on his good leg.

*Enjoy the extra cuddle time you will get. For us, it has been good since we didn’t get to “baby” him as a baby. I truly think this has helped him/us in the healing (from the past trauma) and bonding process even more.

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One last thing I cannot fail to mention. At our second X-ray the doctor informed us that the General’s bone was not healing straight. We were possibly looking at operating. He waited another week. We prayed for a miracle. At our third appointment, they took the cast off, which I didn’t expect and took a third X-ray. (they can X-ray through the cast). I think they expected him to need an operation. The X-ray proved our God is a big God. His leg straighten out!! No need to operate! He was so brave this go-around. Got to wear headphones and hold some tools. We go back in one week. Hopefully, this will be it. Hopefully he won’t need a cast anymore.